Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Who is my neighbor?

Recently a mom decided to write a letter about why she is raising her children without God. I'll bullet point her headlines in the letter, which I'll link to at the bottom of this posting:

  • God is a Bad Parent and role model
  • God is not logical
  • God is not fair
  • God does not protect the innocent
  • God does not teach children to be good
  • God teaches narcissism 

Her initial reasoning for not teaching her child about God is that when he grows up and figures out there is no God, he wouldn't be able to trust her anymore. I agree with this except that he could now grow up to believe in God. What would you expect his reaction to you to be then? 

According to this mother good parents don't allow children to commit acts of violence, abuse or horrible acts against innocent people. I'm assuming she is not the mother of a teenager. What does she plan to do if her child does something wrong? Because children typically like to do things we have taught them is wrong. 

I worked with teenagers for about 6 years after having grown up around juvenile delinquents. You can try to influence them as much as possible, set up rewards, consequences but in the end it is their choice, you cannot stop them or make them do the things they do. So the analogy of God being our Heavenly Father fits nicely. He has given us the rules by which to live. He does not tyrannically rule over us, forcing us to do His bidding, it is our choice. Do I steal today? Do I tell the truth today? My choice. Their choice. Not the parents. That is parenting 101 my friends. 

She claims God is not logical but cites people's beliefs about God instead of characteristics of God. I agree with her on the fact that people's beliefs about God are not logical or even Biblical. God Himself? The Father of logic. 

Is God fair? What is fair? God is actually unfair in that because of our sin we deserve eternal death. However, because He loved us He provided the sacrifice for our sins so that we get what we don't deserve. Jesus paid our price, we didn't, we couldn't. God is unfair. Why are babies born with defects? How about why are babies born with alcohol fetal syndrome? Or why are there crack babies? or babies born with AIDS? better yet, why are babies aborted? Can we call God on the carpet for "allowing" babies to be born with defects when we legalize the murder of perfectly healthy babies? 

Her next point coincides, "God does not protect the innocent". Again, we are judging God on innocent lives when we legalize murder? And fight against capital justice? Do you see the upside down view here? A young girl and guy goes to the clinic to get rid of their mistake because they don't want it to ruin or define their lives and we make no moral judgements on them. A violent criminal is released on an experimental social program and commits another violent act and we have the audacity to be questioning God? Let's get our house in order, then we can work on perfecting God. 

Wait! You're dodging the questions about God. Thats the point. We can judge others all day long but in the end we are the ones with the problem. I find it ironic when I listen to people mock and try to tear down Genesis when they are exhibiting the exact behaviors explained in the book they deride. The fall of man is about humans wanting to create right and wrong for themselves. People mock this, mock God and turn around and want to define right and wrong for themselves and everyone else. They want to be God. This is what the snake promised in the Garden. Metaphorical or not, the story is true. 

I'll post more on this letter later. It is rife with inaccuracies concerning God and the Bible, but that is a very typical characteristic of an atheist's viewpoint. 

Sam Harris on Morality and Science

I just watched Sam Harris giving a TEDtalk on science and morality and how morality can be determined by science, that the greater human good can be factually established.

He offered no moral values as far as "A is good, B is bad". He eludes to the Muslim women wearing Burkas as being bad, but also women on magazines wearing next to nothing  (photoshopped and airbrushed to look perfect no less) as being on the other end of the spectrum of being bad. He promoted a compromise between these two extremes as being what we should be looking for but did not offer any scientific reasoning why that is, he just appealed to his audience's sense of decency. Basically, these two extremes are wrong because we feel they are wrong.

Sam started off by saying children are beaten with a wood board (commonly known to good parents and well behaved children as a paddle) to the point there is bruising and skin being broken all because the Creator of the Universe told us that if we "spare the rod we spoil the child". Mr. Harris claims this is quoted in the Bible in the book of Proverbs. Mr Harris makes this claim after revealing we are dealing with facts vs religious values. The fact is that verse is no where to be found in the book of Proverbs or the Bible in any version, ever. But that doesn't seem to stop an atheist with an agenda. Who needs the facts when you have a point to make right?  Also, I was paddled quite a bit growing up, not one bruise, and certainly no breaking of the skin. Its called discipline, not abuse.

During the Q&A portion Sam really struggles to not sound xenophobic but doesn't come off as anything but. Sure we are all horrified at Muslims who kill their children. This is horrible. Sam picks an easy target. He picks an extreme. Cherry picks his point in order to try and salvage his presentation promoting xenophobia.

He speaks often about overall well being, "in a larger context". Ok, who's well being? The individual's? or society's? We could make a great case to stop insuring smokers and obese people for the sake of those who take good care of themselves. This is actually being debated right now. How about abortion? The well being of the unborn child is not considered valid. As one pro abortionist puts its "some lives are just more valuable than others". If you want to claim some lives as more valuable than others, you could really make a case to bring back slavery.

Monday, January 7, 2013

being good without God

A favorite quote I have heard numerous times from non believers is that you can be good without God. Or a variation on that is, "atheists have morals too".

These thoughts are not really antithetical to Biblical teachings. Take Matt 5:47 where Jesus speaks of the love the heathens or Gentiles have for one another, enough to salute their own kind at least, an act of civility.

This thought continued in Romans 2:14 where Paul speaks of the law being written on the heart of the Gentile so that he knows the law even when the law (Mosaic law) was not revealed to the Gentiles. They do it by nature, God given knowledge to every man to know what is right and wrong, at least to some degree.

So when someone claims that they can "be good without God", they are in fact agreeing in part with Scripture. They are not in agreement with a non belief in God. To make a statement where you say you are good without a moral law giver such as God ,you yourself define what is good. In that case everyone does good because it is a sliding scale according to a person's thoughts and feelings as to what is good or bad. But also everyone does bad according to someone else. So you are both good and bad without God, depending on to whom it is you are talking.

The secular position makes it tough to judge history as right or wrong or say the Old Testament and God's actions as being right or wrong. Who is to say what is right? If you judge history you must agree to a standard, one that always existed and still exists today. A standard of right or wrong that is known, has been revealed and is there for us to judge others by. But this is not correct secular thinking. There is no absolute right or wrong, there cannot be, yet you will run across websites like the evil bible.com which completely judges scriptures as being wrong, or evil.

You cannot say slavery or racism as being wrong only that you prefer it not to exist. But why does it enrage many secularist? Because it is wrong. It was wrong then, it is wrong now, there is a standard of right and wrong by which to judge and that is not made up by human minds or hearts.

OK, why don't we just accept the way things are? Why do we try to make things better? where did we get the idea of "better"? Why don't we accept our lot as slaves, or as poor people or as someone who is oppressed? Why strive for something,,,better? Because we have eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11). Because God created us for doing good and for enjoying good things. We know things are not perfect, but how did we come across the idea of what perfect is? It is written on our hearts. Not just the Christian heart, but in every heart. Every one pines for what they were created for and people in general have a desire to be good and to do good. This does not mean they are good. A desire to be rich doesn't put a single dollar in my bank account. You can desire to be good without God, but being such requires a divine intervention.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting started with Apologetics

I often read both sides of the story. I don't watch FOX news nearly as much as those who stereotype me believe I do. I like CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR and on occasion Al Jezeera. I read the Humanist magazine, UTNE, Richard Dawkins and just started reading The Joyful Atheist blog. I like to challenge my beliefs but I am confident enough to do so. I would not recommend this to someone who is uncertain about what they believe.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I believe He existed. I believe the claims about Him in the Bible are true. I believe, quite controversially, that He is the only way to Heaven.

I believe in Science. I believe medical science has improved our health and longevity. This can be viewed as a good thing. (It can also be viewed as a bad thing, but I'll get into that later.) I also believe in evolution. Not that the world is 13 billion years old, started by a causeless big bang and left to work itself out until life arrived. I believe genetics get passed down and characteristics are shared with offspring. This is non controversial scientific fact. I don't believe the polar bear was present on the day bears were created by God. Just as the breed of my dog Marlon was not either. They evolved. I can see evolution. I can also see the dark intentions of mankind to cover the truth, bully those who oppose them and ridicule differing views of the world. Scientists are not above any of these things.

My intention with this blog is to hone my skills as an apologist. It is a necessary skill in today's world, even in my own country of the United States where my beliefs are under heavier and heavier attack. I feel the Church needs to prepare its minds to guard against those that seek to convert them through false accusations and misinterpretations of the Bible. I will take these issues head on, and do my best to explain them clearly, and intellectually.

Thanks for reading, if you are so inclined please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

God Bless.